Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath


montara beachHappy new year. I managed to catch a cold on the way back home, so I’m running at diminished capacity for the day. S has the same thing and she’s about a day ahead of me on the symptoms, which means this should be 75% clear by tomorrow.

The Milwaukee half of the trip was pretty lax. One of my in-laws had COVID and we did not get to see them, except for a quick present exchange at distance with masks on. That was unfortunate, and it meant we had to scramble to figure out how to move things and spend the whole week with the other parent.

We stayed at a pretty unique new hotel called the Kinn Guesthouse. It’s a boutique hotel downtown, just north of the Public Market and Third Ward, and is a unique setup. Instead of cramming a hundred or two rooms into the space, it has 31 rooms across five floors, each room with high ceilings and great layout. What was cool about the layout though is that each floor had a large common area, with a full kitchen and long island to eat at, a living room area with a large TV, and a meeting room with a board room table and such. My sister-in-law also evacuated to the hotel due to the quarantine situation, and it was nice to be able to sit and eat breakfast each morning. The setup felt like a large SoHo office of a tech marketing firm, almost.

Most of the trip was family stuff. I did get a good walk through the Third Ward one day, and everyone went to the Public Museum one afternoon. Otherwise, it was lots of food and conversation and whatnot. Shot 600-some photos, but I am so far behind on doing anything with pictures. I still haven’t posted albums from that June 2022 trip to Denver.

Oh, one unique thing about Milwaukee was this heavy fog during most of the trip. I didn’t have the big camera, so I tried to capture it a bit, but there was this thick soup on the first few days, like enough that you could barely see a block down a city street. It started on the drive from Indiana to Illinois and into Wisconsin and went on for days. I’d never seen Milwaukee like this, so it was unique to me.

Trip back wasn’t bad. We stopped in Denver, which was a weird flashback to my trip in 2022, which I almost called “last year” but now it’s “the year before last.” Gotta get used to that. We stopped in the Amex Centennial lounge, which was decent but way too crowded. Got home just in time for a torrential rainstorm, which almost reminded me of the Singapore trip, albeit 40 degrees cooler.

Today I did a quick spin down Highway 1 into Pacifica. There have been some crazy waves down there a few days ago, thirty or forty-foot waves crashing ashore and flooding out roads and houses. I got down there today with no real traffic problems, and the waves were at about the usual level, maybe slightly bigger. Lots of people had the same idea, though, so parking was a problem. I ended up going down to Montara Beach and climbing down to shore. I had the big camera with me, but I got there after noon, so the sun was the wrong way. The camera had the 16-35L lens, which is absolute butter for wide-open shots. It has such beautiful detail and color to it, especially on a beach. I had trouble getting down to the beach, though; there were a lot of washed-out and eroded trails, and I had to walk about a mile to find one that got down to the shore.

I love the Pacific ocean. I mean, I liked looking at the Atlantic from the south shore of Iceland, but I can get to the Pacific in fifteen minutes. The first time I touched the water of an ocean was at the Oregon coast, and I used to walk to Dockweiler Beach every day when I lived in Playa Del Rey. And of course Hawaii is amazing. But there’s something about the coast on Highway 1 south of Daly City that seems to mix together aspects of all of these places. There are rugged slopes and cliffs like Seaside, Oregon. There are the same little beach houses and surf shacks you see along the LA coast. But there’s like this rugged individualism to the beaches below Pacifica. You don’t see wall-to-wall families camping on the sand with umbrellas and chairs and grills. If you go during the week, you can sometimes see almost nobody there, except for the die-hards in neoprene suits, fighting the big waves. Places like Mavericks can be downright dangerous, and aside from the occasional fisherman, you might see nobody brave enough to take on the big surf. But I’d rather be walking on a beach like that than fighting my way through Coney Island-on-a-holiday crowds.

Anyway. I’ve rambled on for 800 words here and you may be wondering if I’m going to put some big turn in here at the end. And I honestly don’t know, but the new year/new me energy always makes me want to blog every day and write every day, and it usually times out by January 5th. But there are a lot of big questions I want to answer. One is if I can simply keep writing on here without running out of stories or things to say. I forget what the current tally is here, but it’s something like 1400 published entries and a million words, so the odds of having some original thought and saying, “Hey, I should write about my old Commodore 64” – well, I already did back in 2003. So I need to figure out a way to keep the words going. Or do I?

I don’t know who reads this or how people find it or if there are any on-ramps to blogs anymore. I think people just doom-scroll and sit and spin on their favorite low-attention-span app on their phone. (I know I do.) Is this something I could change? Is there some alternative to blogs that scratch the same itch as blogs? I don’t know. I know I don’t need to old-man-yells-at-cloud about how blogs were so much better in 1998 and these damn kids need to get off their phones. That war has already been lost. I guess what I need to figure out is how to spend my time and do what I want to do and what I can do. I want to keep writing about nothing and everything, and try to see what gels. So, here I am.



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